Searching for a better way to study

Daily, students struggle with studying and coming up with excuses not to. Different techniques can help students efficiently get work done.


Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Picture this.

It’s a dreary Tuesday night. You’re exhausted. It seems like it’s been raining for an eternity and you’d kill to see a ray of sunshine to let you know outside of this grey abyss was a beautiful spring and summer. But you don’t and you’ve already had a packed day of school, clubs, practice, rehearsal or other extra-curricular activity. Or maybe the day at school was just overly stressful and it feels like you can’t even lift an eye. You collapse onto your bed, ready for a night of Netflix, YouTube, TV, a movie, social media, a book, or, for so many, sleep.

But like popping a balloon…pop! The realization hits you: I need to study for that test tomorrow.

You probably groan and contemplate in your head, “Oh I can just retake it, no big deal.” Or how about, “Well, nobody seems to understand so we’re all in the same boat.”

The possibilities running through your mind are endless but they all have one common denominator: they’re excuses.

Excuses, not even acknowledging the exam exists, or simply not studying or practicing for it isn’t going to get anyone anywhere. The last thing you’d want it to fall in the dangerous hole of playing catch up with test retakes.

Next time you find yourself in one of these situations, perhaps you should consider the following tactics to help you get to studying and earning the grade you deserve.      

If you find yourself getting distracted at home, putting the phone in a drawer, flicking the TV off and physically removing yourself from the things that you know could potentially distract you would be noble. How many times have you been sitting at home doing schoolwork and your phone buzzes? How are you supposed to ignore a notification like that? It’s only going to repeat itself if you don’t check it. And how many times have you found that quick check of notification turn into a ten-minute detour that you were supposed to spend studying? Or how many times have you thought “I’ve got to go just check the score really quick”? And then you end up watching the entire half?

Where you study can and does attribute to success. By removing distractions, you’re removing the potential of wasted minutes. Thirty minutes of solid, focused studying is going to be far more effective than ninety minutes of lackadaisical, distracted studying.

Going hand in hand, setting a timer can help make a gargantuan task less daunting. If you’ve got a huge stack of flash cards that require memorization, doing it all at once would seem nearly impossible. Instead of getting frustrated and attempting to tackle it all at once, maybe you decide to spend twenty, hard minutes studying then take five minutes off as a break and repeat that until all that information is lodged in your brain. As long as your break and work times stay consistent, this helps break up the mundanity of going after flash cards, in this instance, while simultaneously giving yourself room to breathe.

Another would be simply setting a goal before a study session. Teachers and adults in general have probably told you time after time that you’re ten times more likely to accomplish a goal if you write it down and when it comes to studying, that trick could be beneficial. If you need to memorize a set of words for a vocab test, if you were to write down “I will memorize my vocab words” and set that at a place where you could can see it the entire time while you study, that goal is going to remind you to persevere and accomplish what you know has to get done. And how satisfying is it going to be crumpling up that goal or striking it out in red ink, knowing that you got done what you said you were?

School can be stressful. There is work that has to be done. There will be tests. As much as it can be uncomfortable to hear those words, it is undeniably true. However, if you choose to be effective and efficient in studying habits that stress level can be reduced and hopefully those test scores can rise.